Chris Harrison- Interacting with Small Devices in Big Ways

Despite their small size, mobile devices are able to perform tasks of creation, information and communication with unprecedented ease. However, diminutive screens and buttons mar the user experience, and otherwise prevent us from realizing the full potential of computing on the go. For example, there is large disparity between multitouch input and the capabilities of our hands and fingers. In addition to translating to an X/Y position, our fingers can vary their angle of attack, bend, twist, and apply different pressure and shear forces (at least six additional analog dimensions). Fingers also have many “modes” – they do not just poke, as contemporary touchscreen interaction would suggest, but also scratch, flick, knock, rub, and grasp, to name a few. I will describe several technologies I have worked on that enrich and expand today's interaction. I will also highlight an emergent shift in computing: from mobile devices we carry to using the human body itself as an mobile interactive platform, bringing computational power ever closer to users. This evolution brings significant new challenges in sensing and interaction design: the human body is not only incredibly irregular and dynamic, but also comes in more than six billion different models. However, along with these challenges also come exciting new opportunities for more powerful, intuitive and intimate computing experiences.